Jubal Lee Young and singing partner and fiancée Amanda Preslar are members of a growing group of Oklahomans associated with “The Voice.”
The Tulsa couple, who became engaged on stage after their blind audition, have joined the Oklahoma family of NBC’s reality TV singing competition.
A family that includes The Swon Brothers from Muskogee (Zach and Colton finished in the top three), Tulsa and Jenks singers Alaska & Madi (who lost out in the battle rounds) and Bixby’s Corey Kent White (who made it to the top eight on the show last spring). Tulsa native Paul Pfau, who grew up in the Washington, D.C., area, also competed in season 8 with White but lost in the knockout rounds of the show. And, country music superstar and “The Voice” coach Blake Shelton lives on a ranch near Tishomingo.
“There’s a shared camaraderie there with us going through the process,” Young said in an interview this week. “And it’s the same with Corey and Alaska and Madi. It’s ‘The Voice’ family. You understand things that each other have gone through that other people don’t have any idea about.”
Preslar, who owns Preslar Music teaching studio in Tulsa, said she talked to White about the show.
“For us, it was more of a confirmation,” said Preslar, who said “yes” when Young dropped to one knee following their blind audition and proposed. “It was kind of sharing our experience and the mind set of being shocked that we even made it through the local audition.
“I told Corey our attitude — especially at our age — is ‘why not?’ If we’re going to do this, we might as well have fun and be ourselves because that is all we know how to be. And we can just be us and he confirmed that. He said that’s the way to go. That that’s how you have to do it.”
The couple auditioned in Oklahoma City, along with students from her music school and friends who were there to support one another.
“On audition day, I felt like I was more in my Preslar Music teacher role making sure everyone was ready, asking what songs they were singing and if they had their lukewarm water.”
During the February 2015 audition, Young and Preslar sang several songs, he said. They had prepared three — “Barton Hollow” by The Civil Wars, the Appalachian folk song “East Virginia” and the Buddy and Judy Miller-written tune “Gasoline and Matches” recorded more recently by LeAnn Rimes. They sang all three.
“At the audition, they just kept saying ‘Sing another song,’ ” said Preslar, who has been the owner-instructor at Preslar Music teaching studio, 1430 S. Quaker Ave., since 1999.
As seasoned artists, they weren’t awestruck by the show’s music icons/coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani. They are members of Team Pharrell going forward in the competition.
“Because Jubal grew up in the industry and I have rubbed some shoulders in the day, too, we are just not very star struck,” Preslar said. “We just are singing in front of four human beings that happen to do some great things.
“It was nerve wracking because of the magnitude of the opportunity. Not many people get to do this. I think that’s where my nerves were the most shaken, instead of being nervous in front of famous people.”
For Young, who grew up in Nashville with his dad’s friend Waylon Jennings in his living room and grocery shopping with the likes of Martina McBride, it was “almost impossible” to be star struck. Knowing who the coaches are wasn’t the source of his nerves.
“I think it was all the preparation, the expectation leading up to that moment was ‘do or die’ on top of knowing I was asking a certain question of Amanda,” he said. “That made me nervous.”
The couple met through an online dating service, met in person for the first time on Feb. 18, 2014, and started singing together on their second date. One month after meeting, she went to Nashville to sing on Young’s fifth album, “On a Dark Highway.”
Next, they will compete in the battle rounds of the show, where the coaches and their mentors work with the artists and then pit their singers against each other, choosing who will advance. The losing singer can be stolen by another coach. That competition begins Oct. 12.
“It’s a little different marriage with another artist,” Young said. “It ends up being a trio. You have to take that into consideration, too, and hammer out the song, how to approach it together.”
Through it all, Preslar said her mind is on what she is getting from “The Voice” experience — “the knowledge, the experience and taking it all in, running after big and small things, being a student of life.”
“Yes, I’m an educator and I have hundreds of students that I get to work with every week but, as an educator, I have to remember to remain a student as well. This was an opportunity that provided that very thing for me — to learn from the coaches, their mentorship, gleaning and soaking it all in and, hopefully, to regurgitate it and take it back to students.
“It was a priceless experience, something I will be able to continue to pull from in teaching kids at Preslar Music.”
Although none of her students made it past the audition stage (that she is aware of), producers on the show learned something important.
“I know that ‘The Voice’ is aware that Preslar Music may be a resource in the future and that there’s lots of potential there in our students.”
Rita Sherrow 918-581-8360